What was Maria’s life like in Egypt? She was a foreigner, unfamiliar with the best places to buy meat or flour, unsure of her welcome in the community. Did she keep to herself, hiding behind her new roles as mother and wife, or more likely, did she take on tasks within the community and become a woman other women sought out for counsel or assistance?
Today’s Modern Day Maria is the latter. She has always been liberal in sharing her wisdom in our virtual community of women here in Mexico. Her words have soothed many a troubled heart. Her wisdom has lit the candle of hope for others. It can be said of today’s Maria that “Strength and honour are her clothing” (Proverbs 31:25) and “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” (Proverbs 31: 26). Here is her story.
I’m Maria. I go by Maria De Acosta as I’ve adopted my husband’s family name as I have no family of my own. I am from California. I now live in a small village on the Sea of Cortez on the Baja Peninsula. I am here by choice 10 years – how it came about is a very long, personal story. I met my husband here in Mexico. I had known his family for many years. He moved back to town and his family introduced us. I knew my in-laws for years before meeting my husband, so it was an easy transition to a family relationship. I loved my mother-in-law dearly. My father-in-law stays to himself. My husband’s sister is the head of the family and is very supportive of me.
Has my life changed? Incredibly so! I am forever a foreigner in a foreign land. I will live out my life here in Mexico. I find myself closer to the people of this town and find a richness of life I’d never known before. I’m able to serve the community as a volunteer in the veterinary clinic and dental clinic. I love it passionately. Living in service is a true privilege! I want to learn to use the anesthesia machine at the veterinary clinic, and I want to be trained to clean teeth at the dental clinic. Much opportunity is here.
I learn every day the value of simplicity, making do, repair and reuse. As to belief system, I do not hold to a religion. I hold myself to being honest, kind, helpful and ethical – that will never change! I realize I am more intelligent, capable and gifted, stronger emotionally than I ever knew. Since moving to Mexico, I speak Spanish better. I wish to become fluent in Spanish but have no formal teacher – everyone in town is my teacher. I want to become as fluent in Spanish as I am in English.
Like Eartha Kitt said whenever she’d come onstage, “I’m still here!” This means I’ve overcome the challenges, persevered and not only have survived them but welcome them into my being. The most defining moment of my life was when I swam out of my house in a flood with two kittens in my arms, got to safety on high ground. I heard there were two people still in their homes on the river, so immediately put the kittens into a car with a couple of guys staying out of the hurricane; I was the only woman to volunteer to be one of 5 people to go back down into the river to search for these people. They were found hanging on the window bars of their house. Their lives were saved that night.
I have lived through several hurricanes and floods. I faced death several times in the first hurricane/flood. I have lived in less-than-desirable conditions and have suffered and seen suffering and death. I have saved my own life and saved the lives of others, human and animal alike. I have not run from this to escape; I am still here. Goodness has come from this that has changed my life forever and contributed to the tempering of my heart, mind, and soul to make me a better person – I hope a better example of humanity.
I’ve done a lot of living in my 65 years. I have a house to live in now. I designed it and my husband built it. Life here in the desert village of Mexico I call home is very tough and isn’t for everyone. I’ve seen people come and go in this town and can tell with a glance who will stay and who will leave. It’s as if the town itself, not the people who are always gracious and welcoming, but Nature here Herself, who chooses to embrace you or cast you out. So far, She has chosen me to stay here and I feel calls me her child.
I have dreams of doing a bit of travel. It’s been my life’s dream to travel throughout Mexico. Summers are hard for me – the heat, humidity, and isolation. Looking forward to the Winter Season of activity and service to the community helps get me through. I have too much free time, unfortunately, particularly in the 5-6 months of summer. I write when something comes to my spirit and wishes to be said. I am a singer. I am looking for a music system to replace the one lost in the flood – I feel if I can sing again, a big part of my soul that is hurt and damaged will be healed. (I’m surprising myself now as these words flow forth, just watching them and realizing their candor and truthful directive). I make aged cheese and roast coffee. My goal is to be self-sufficient and use locally-sourced products. I am putting my husband’s daughter through university. The financial burden is troubling.
I’m inspired by people who are living in service of others – not to change things, impose their values on others, but to enhance lives. This is exciting to me and utterly worthy of respect and assistance. I want to stay active and of service as long as I can. To do this I am taking a yoga class. I’m 65 years old and wish to keep my joints flexible and muscles toned well into old age.
If I could it all over again, I’d have matured quicker as a young person and chosen a clarity of life sooner. I’d have chosen to study well in college.
When you’re faced with life or death, you choose life, I’ve learned. One day death will choose me. I know that death is only a breath away at any time, but until it appears I will go on living ethically and hopefully giving beauty to this planet I call home.